What is SM Rookies?

SM Rookies (Hangul: 에스엠루키즈, stylized as SMROOKIES) is a pre-debut training team created by South Korean entertainment agency SM Entertainment in 2013. It comprises young trainees who have yet to debut in an idol group. The project has yielded artists such as Red Velvet and NCT.

SM Rookies was formally announced in December 3, 2013, and has provided opportunities for the idol trainees to demonstate their talents to the general public before their debut in a group.

An interview with SM Entertainment's co-CEO Kim Youngmin on September 24, 2019 revealed plans for a new boy group and a new girl group to debut in 2020. This news was further confirmed in a statement from Hana Institute of Finance researcher Lee Kihoon on October 1, 2019: "SM is also planning to debut a new male and female group, each will be debuting in 2020. The debut plans will be realised by the first half of 2020."

Who are SM Rookies girls?

As of 2020, ten female trainees have been part of the SM Rookies training team. Of those ten, four have debuted as members of Red Velvet, four have left SM Entertainment and two are currently still trainees.

Current SM Rookies girls

Rumoured SM Trainees

Former SM Rookies/Trainees

Koeun

Ko Eun (born March 18, 1999), known by the mononym Koeun, is a former South Korean trainee at SM Entertainment.

She was one of SM Entertainment's longest running trainees. As of 2019, Koeun had been a trainee under SM Entertainment for eight years and had trained her whole adolescent life.

Koeun has an interest in yoga, as her father was a yoga teacher, and was an track and field athlete in elementary school. She also attended Hanlim Multi Art School but dropped out before graduating.

Koeun's official SM Rookies profile

Koeun joined SM Entertainment in 2011 some time after March. She made her first appearance as an SM trainee on October 15, 2012 during an ABC News report titled "K-Pop Boot Camp", alongside other SM trainees.

Along with other unrevealed SM trainees, Koeun featured in an exhibit for SM Town Week in December 2013. The exhibit featured polaroid pictures of the SM trainees and messages from them.

Shortly after making a cameo with other female SM trainees in Red Velvet's music video "Happiness", Koeun performed as one of the upcoming members of SM Entertainment's pre-debut training group SM Rookies on SM Town Live World Tour IV, performing "Violet Fragrance" and "No No No No No".

On August 15, 2014, reality TV show "EXO 90:2014" began broadcasting, featuring several male SM Rookies throughout the show. During the re-creation of several songs that featured in the show, the SM Rookies provided their voices for the covers. Koeun possibly featured on the cover of Deux's "In Summer" with Red Velvet's Seulgi and S.E.S.'s "I'm Your Girl" with fellow SM Rookies Yeri, Hina, Jeesu, Winny, Mark and Donghyuck.

Koeun for SM Town World Tour IV
Koeun for Mickey Mouse Club
Koeun for Mickey Mouse Club

On July 9, 2015, Koeun was revealed as an official SM Rookie along with Hina and Herin to coincide with the announcement of a new series of "Mickey Mouse Club" on Disney Channel Korea, starting July 23, 2015. The Mouseketeers consisted of nine members of SM Rookies, including five boys — Mark, Jeno, Donghyuck, Jaemin, and Jisung — and four girls — Koeun, Hina, Herin, and Lami.

During the show, Koeun was one of only two trainees to participate in a duet cover (the other being Herin), singing "Beauty and the Beast" from the film of the same name with fellow SM Rookies member Doyoung. The series aired until December 17, 2015.

Koeun featured in another ABC News report about K-pop and SM Entertainment during 2015 alongside other SM trainees.

On September 19, 2016, SM Entertainment began airing a new variety show titled “my SM Television” (also known as “my SMT”). The show featured a segment titled "Who's The Best?" where SM Rookies members Yiyang, Koeun, Hina and Ningning competed against each other on a shared task and the viewers would vote on who had won. My SMT aired until November 28, 2016.

Koeun for My SMT
Koeun for Paper Umbrella
Koeun for Paper Umbrella

Koeun's most recent public appearance was in Super Junior Yesung's music video "Paper Umbrella", released April 18, 2017. Koeun starred alongside fellow SM Rookie Jungwoo and Elris' Karin.

Between the end of 2017 and the first half of 2018, several SM Rookies participated in the soundtrack for MBC's "Shining Star". Koeun, along with Hina, Ningning and Jungyeon, gave their voices to various covers of SM Entertainment girl group songs as well as original songs "Shining Star", "Run & Run" and "Someday". She also recorded the solo version of Girls' Generation-TTS' "Checkmate".

She parted ways with SM Entertainment in either 2019 or 2020, currently using the public Instagram account @letsgoeunn.

Hina

Nakamura Hina, or Gong Hina (born January 5, 2000), is a Japanese trainee at SM Entertainment. She is currently the oldest public SM trainee.

An experienced dancer, Hina was previously a member of Japanese dance crew "VASTER→raze", specialising in urban/street/hip-hop dance. She took part in numerous dance competitions between 2010 and 2011, and previously attended Thursday Hip-Hop lessons at Emotion Dance Studio before she joined SM Entertainment between 2012 and 2013.

She attended School of Performing Arts Seoul (SOPA) in the Department of Theatre and Film after passing auditions for both SOPA and Hanlim Multi Art School, but dropped out before graduation.

Her interest in dance from a young age means that Hina is very competitive and she often won games in Mickey Mouse Club! She's a sweet and considerate girl, laughs easily and is softly spoken. According to NCT's Jaemin, she hides her worries and doesn't speak up about her struggles. Hina has proved throughout her training period that she is a talented singer, dancer and rapper, making her a triple threat.

Hina's official SM Rookies profile
Hina for Ceci Korea
Hina for SM Town World Tour IV

Hina joined SM Entertainment in some time between 2012 and 2013. She made her first appearance as an SM trainee in December 2013 in an exhibit for SM Town Week. Along with other unrevealed SM trainees, Hina exhibit featured polaroid pictures of the SM trainees and messages from them.

Shortly after making a cameo with other female SM trainees in Red Velvet's music video "Happiness", Hina performed as one of the upcoming members of SM Entertainment's pre-debut training group SM Rookies on SM Town Live World Tour IV, performing "Violet Fragrance" and "No No No No No".

On August 15, 2014, reality TV show "EXO 90:2014" began broadcasting, featuring several male SM Rookies throughout the show. During the re-creation of several songs that featured in the show, the SM Rookies provided their voices for the covers. Hina featured on the cover of S.E.S.'s "I'm Your Girl" with fellow SM Rookies Yeri, Koeun, Jeesu, Winny, Mark and Donghyuck.

On July 9, 2015, Hina was revealed as an official SM Rookie along with Koeun and Herin to coincide with the announcement of a new series of "Mickey Mouse Club" on Disney Channel Korea, starting July 23, 2015. The Mouseketeers consisted of nine members of SM Rookies, including five boys — Mark, Jeno, Donghyuck, Jaemin, and Jisung — and four girls — Koeun, Hina, Herin, and Lami. The series aired until December 17, 2015.

Hina featured in an ABC News report about K-pop and SM Entertainment during 2015 alongside other SM trainees.

In December 2015, SM Rookies Hina and Lami with SM trainee Jungyeon appeared in the music video for f(x)'s "Wish List".

Hina for Mickey Mouse Club
Hina for Wish List
Hina for My SMT
Hina for My SMT

On September 19, 2016, SM Entertainment began airing a new variety show titled “my SM Television” (also known as “my SMT”). The show featured a segment titled "Who's The Best?" where SM Rookies members Yiyang, Koeun, Hina and Ningning competed against each other on a shared task and the viewers would vote on who had won. My SMT aired until November 28, 2016 and was Hina's last public appearance.

Between the end of 2017 and the first half of 2018, several SM Rookies participated in the soundtrack for MBC's "Shining Star". Hina, along with Koeun, Ningning and Jungyeon, gave their voices to various covers of SM Entertainment girl group songs as well as original songs "Shining Star", "Run & Run" and "Someday".

Ningning

Ning Yizhuo (born November 23, 2002), known by stage name Ningning, is a Chinese trainee at SM Entertainment.

A talented singer and experienced performer back in China, Ningning appeared in two youth singing competitions and several Chinese television shows.

She joined SM Entertainment in 2016 and is the only remaining Chinese SM Rookie after the departure of Yiyang in 2018. It is likely she will be one of the youngest members of her future girl group, with Lami being the only public trainee who is younger than her.

Ningning's official SM Rookies profile
Ningning's official SM Rookies profile

Ningning is artistic - her favourite subject is art and she dreamed of becoming a painter when she was younger; she likes to paint and draw. She's a sweet girl and loves dolls. Her voice has been powerful and well-controlled from a young age, which is clear in her many performances as a child. She also enjoys cooking as a hobby.

Ningning for My SMT
Ningning for My SMT

On September 19, 2016, SM Entertainment began airing a new variety show titled “my SM Television” (also known as “my SMT”). The show featured a segment titled "Who's The Best?" where SM Rookies members Yiyang, Koeun, Hina and Ningning competed against each other on a shared task and the viewers would vote on who had won. My SMT aired until November 28, 2016 and was Ningning's only public appearance as a member of SM Rookies.

Between the end of 2017 and the first half of 2018, several SM Rookies participated in the soundtrack for MBC's "Shining Star". Ningning, along with Koeun, Hina and Jungyeon, gave their voices to various covers of SM Entertainment girl group songs as well as original songs "Shining Star", "Run & Run" and "Someday". On the Chinese version of the show, Ningning provided most of the vocals on the songs.